Fast & Furious Crossroads is a hybrid racing & action-role playing video game based on the Fast & Furious film franchise. It is developed by Slightly Mad Studios, a subsidiary studio of the British video game developer Codemasters, and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment. The game's release was delayed due to the postponement of the next installment of the film (Fast & Furious 9) however, the game was still released in advance of the film release.
Fast & Furious is a movie franchise I have loved since the original in 2001, so naturally I was super excited when I heard there would be a new video game addition to the franchise. Prior to my experience, I had heard rumblings that the game was a massive disaster but I decided that I wanted to go in with an open mind.
It didn’t take long for me to realise what these people may have been talking about. Immediately I notice that the graphics are quite obviously below current gen standard. Considering the current generation of gaming is almost over, you would be expecting that all graphics would be the best that they could be on current hardware. For instance, the game has real issues with rendering and pop-in; or at least it did for me. Other cars and obstacles just seem to appear on the screen and vehicles in the distance do not render correctly; they appear as lifeless blocks of metal ahead of you. Admittedly these graphics are not as bad as some are saying. The suggestion that these graphics are PS2 level is outrageous and I'd suggest those saying so have a very warped memory of exactly what PS2 graphics looked like.
The voice acting, despite being delivered by Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez and Tyrese Gibson themselves, was somehow tacky and combining this with the awful character models on offer, meant for a completely lifeless performance that lacked any kind of storytelling or emotion. All in all, this made the cut-scenes pretty bland and uninteresting, making me want to skip them most of the time. Going back to the character models for a moment, Vin Diesel himself looked pretty accurate, albeit a soul-less representation of himself, but the others were not so good. Michelle Rodriguez for instance, didn't look anything like the real thing and had I not already known it was her, I probably wouldn't have guessed it was.
These lacking features weren't even redeemed by good gameplay. The learning curve is very steep and abrupt. You’re thrown into a winding road with sharp corners and no instruction on how to drift around them, which inevitably leads to you smashing into a wall, barrier or the imaginary forcefield used to gently assist you back onto the road. That being said, the actual combat, while very very messy, did end up being slightly enjoyable, almost like an arcade style racer but with “guns n stuff”. The controls in terms of handling etc were very “outrun-esque” and given the pace of the game, was extremely difficult to have any semblance of control over. It felt more like a game of pinball than a racer at times, as I bounced from wall to wall or obstacle to obstacle.
The types of races you get are probably exactly what you expect from a fast and furious game; some regular races, point a to point b (sprint) and of course the weaponized missions, in which you had a specific objective to complete along your route. Not a lot of variety and a lackluster story to fill in the gaps, leading to a pretty average time to say the least.
The most disappointing aspect of this game for me is the realisation that it’s developed by Slightly Mad Studios, a subsidiary of Codemasters, the same Codemasters that have brought us some of the best looking racing games on the market. Games such as the F1 franchise, Dirt, Grid and the upcoming Project Cars 3; which looks simply breathtaking. So we know Codemasters are capable of making great looking games, which makes me wonder what happened here? Was it simply a case of big budget voice actors leading to a lower development budget? We will probably never know, however it's clear that something has gone wrong somewhere.
I hate shitting on a game with my review but if a game is truly deserving of some honest feedback then I will do so. Fast & Furious Crossroads is simply not a good game. Graphics, storyline and gameplay are all below what we would expect for one of the last games of this current generation. So much could be done with the Fast & Furious franchise, as there is a gap in the market for a really good street racing game. This one however, left just about every box unchecked in terms of what I personally like and am looking for.
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Reviewed on: PS4 Pro
Also available on: Xbox One, PC
Release: July 28, 2020